How to Help Yourself When Your Boss Steals Your Ideas

How to Help Yourself When Your Boss Steals Your Ideas
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We all have felt ripped off when our bosses steal our ideas. And, just when we are feeling the most angry and vulnerable, we have to face the bold fact that we're hired to do just that -- to deliver up good ideas which then belong to the boss, ultimately to the organization. They are not ours anymore. That's what we're paid for. But we can't stop there and just wait for recognition to come along with a more significant role.

The first step is recognizing that our ideas are not only good but that they are actually being used. Then we have to proceed to make ourselves count more. It is then up to us to tell our bosses that we are pleased that our ideas are being used and that we're eager to go on working on them as well as other new ones. We have to ask to be included in the next level meetings to either implement them or strategize for other projects. In other words, we have to stand out as much as our ideas. It takes deft diplomacy along with showing belonging to the group.

So, when we schedule a meeting to talk to the boss, we can't turn it into an angry confrontation. A showdown only puts us in jeopardy revealing that we are too naïve. Nor can we claim the idea only after it has proved successful. This will only reflect back that we are poor sports. And holding a grudge simply serves to hold us back; everyone can smell resentment and moves away from it. You have to allow your boss to save face the first few times.

Bottom line: the law does not copyright ideas (or titles); so they are freely exchanged. Besides, It's always hard to prove who really did the groundbreaking work or how the idea can into being.

Don't despair; you are not alone. Most bosses don't tout their staffers. It is totally up to us to gain a perch on the inside track with access to the important people over our bosses or those in different departments. Your request to get invited to meetings is a fine step, but it might not happen without some help. Emailing ideas to our bosses helps document where they come from. Don't hold back from enthusiastically talking to a higher-up I the organization or in another department you are interested in during a casual situation-- an elevator, hallway, lunch--without complaining. And, getting a helpful mentor or two also inspires us to share our ideas and ask for feedback and get some helpful advice on how to proceed or where to go next. Those mentors should help protect us and catapult us up by providing access to projects and positions that we could never be included on without them. Getting not only acknowledgment but inclusion is what will launch your career process.

Make your luck happen!

Dr. Adele
Author of Skills for Success and Launch Your Career in College

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